Los Angeles (UPI) Mar 11, 2011
Ingestion of plastic by small fish in the northern Pacific Ocean shows the troubling effect floating litter is having on marine life, U.S. researchers say.
Scientists say about 35 percent of the fish collected on a 2008 research expedition off the U.S. West Coast had plastic in their stomachs, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
Researchers who dissected hundreds of plankton-eating lanternfish say they found as many as 83 plastic fragments in a single fish.
As lanternfish are a food source for such popular game fish as tuna and mahi-mahi, the discovery of plastic fragments raises questions about the health effects on marine life.
The study raises the concern that garbage working its way up the food chain could ultimately be ingested by humans, the researchers say.
Floating marine debris, mostly discarded plastic, has accumulated in vast, slow-moving ocean currents known as gyres, and though slowly broken down into small fragments by pounding waves and sunlight, scientists don't know if the materials ever totally dissolve.
"As the larger pieces of plastic break down they mimic the size, shape and texture of natural food," Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation said. "What we're seeing is the entire food web being contaminated by plastic."
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Water News - Science, Technology and Politics
Gainesville FL (SPX) Mar 11, 2011
A new study led by a University of Florida researcher uses tracking data of three shark species to provide the first evidence some of the fish swim directly to targeted locations. Researchers found tiger and thresher sharks showed the ability to orient at large distances, with tiger sharks swimming in direct paths at least 4 miles away and reaching specific resource areas about 30 miles aw ... read more
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